“The XC90 T8 is a plug-in electric car, hybrid car and high-performance car rolled into one,” says Dr Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research and Development of Volvo Car Group. “The Drive-E engines already offer highly competitive performance versus the competition. The T8 takes it further into a leading position.”
The XC90 T8 is the first Volvo to be designed right from the start for plug-in/electrification compatibility, while at the same time delivering all the performance of a luxury SUV, but with minimal emission levels and uncompromising performance, driving pleasure, efficiency and luggage space.
Your needs fulfilled
With a 0-62mph acceleration of just 5.9 seconds, the XC90 T8 will deliver driving pleasure as you would expect from a Volvo SUV; and even that is further enhanced via a scroll wheel on the centre console or a touchscreen on the dashboard where the choice of one of the five different driving modes available can be made.
Hybrid: This is the default mode that has been designed to be most suitable for everyday use. Here, the vehicle will automatically alternate between drawing power from the 2-litre, 4-cylinder Drive-E engine and the electric motor to deliver the best overall fuel consumption.
Pure electric: As it says on the tin, this is when the high-voltage battery is fully charged, ready to serve as the car’s sole energy source, powering the electric motor over the rear axle. With this particular mode, the XC90 T8 has a range of up to 25 miles - enough for an average daily journey – and is super-efficient in the stop-and-go traffic of city environments thanks to the regenerative braking system. (it is easy to slip into engine use if more power is required.)
Power mode: In this mode, the combustion engine and the electric motor. Combine with the electric motor’s superior response and instant torque curve taking pride of place on start-up before the combustion engine kicks in with the speed factor.
AWD: This mode offers constant all-wheel drive on demand with selection being made manually rather than automatically, leaving the choice of usage or saving until later to the driver.
Save: With this particular mode, the driver can ‘freeze’ a charged battery for later use in Pure electric mode; or can also use it to charge the battery to a certain level using the combustion engine to charge tit.
The fulfilment engineering
To get these modes going, and to make sure that they do what they do, many of the main components in the XC90 T8’s powertrain have been optimised specifically for hybrid technology.
The Drive-E engine: Under the car bonnet you will find a specially modified version of the 4-cylinder Drive-E petrol engine. This particular engine is already renowned for its ability to more efficiently deliver the power of an engine twice its size, and this one is actually enhanced in the XC90 T8 by a supercharger and a turbocharger to give out a total power output of 318hp and 400Nm torque.
The Automatic gearbox: The XC90 T8 boasts an 8-speed automatic gearbox that has also been specially adapted for the hybrid by use of such technology as ‘shift-by-wire’ which allows drivers to electronically control the transmission (via a gearshift made of handmade Swedish crystal). There is also a larger oil pump to make sure that there is enough lubrication during the electric drive mode and also allows quicker pressure build-up when seamlessly going from electric to combustion drive.
The Crankshaft-mounted starter generator (CISG): This is located between the engine and the gearbox, a powerful, 34kW starter motor that allows the car to go from pure electric drive to combination combustion drive seamlessly; acts as a powerful electric generator; and also acts as an electric engine booster, working with the supercharger and turbocharger when extra power is needed, providing up to 150 Nm of extra torque.
The Battery: The battery is a high-voltage (270–400V) one that delivers 65kW of power, and is placed centrally in the tunnel of the car to avoid taking space inside the car and helping the SUV achieve a low and central centre of gravity, making the XC90 T8 easier to handle and safer to drive.
The Rear electric motor: This sits on the rear axle ready to deliver 82hp (60kW) and 240Nm torque, driving the back wheels in electric and power-boost modes. Because it sits on the rear axle it can be a bit larger than usual, ready for those stop-and-go traffic rhythms that you find in the city.
Add in the two-step braking system that partly uses the brake-by-wire technology to recover and transmit energy back into the car to recharge the battery; the two-circuited unique cooling and climate system that cools the CISG, the electric motor and the battery; and a pre-conditioning app that can make sure the car is ready to go in whatever driving conditions are about, and you have got pretty much a car for every situation with the XC90 T8 joining a long list of Volvo Cars innovations designed to create a more comfortable driving experience, a cleaner environment and safer roads.